Saturday, October 13, 2012

Life Stories

A woman I grew up with asked me to interview her father a few weeks ago. I've known him all my life.
He'd gone downhill this year, and about a month ago, doctors told the family it was just a matter of time.
A few days after she called, I drove out to the nursing home where he was staying and spent some time talking. I took my recorder and recorded the interview.

I learned that he'd been an ice man, back before our town learned about refrigeration (no, I don't remember those days).
He'd also served in WWII and afterwards worked as a garbage man, a policeman, a custodian for a local school, and a coal miner.

Even though his body was ravaged by cancer, his mind was still sharp. We talked and laughed about life in a small town.
He was born into a large family and was a child during the depression. When I asked what that was like   he got a distant look and his eye and said, "Times were hard."
His oldest son and I were friends in high school and he was one of the local boys who died in Vietnam.
I was hesitant to probe about how this affected his life, but the subject came up in conversation and he said, "Losing a son to war is something you never get over."
The woman who asked me to interview her dad knew his days were numbered and she was compelled to get someone to capture his story. I was glad to do it. I enjoyed the time we had together.
This morning when I opened the local paper, I learned that he'd passed away yesterday.
I printed the story I'd written and burned a CD of the interview for the family.



8 comments:

  1. http://lydiakang.blogspot.ca/

    Try to look her up

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  2. I love the stories older folks have to tell us. I remember my mom talking about how the pan that caught the water dripping from the block of ice in the icebox would overflow. I think a lot of people were grateful when electric refrigerators came into being, but or course, the ice man had to change jobs. Someday I'll tell kids how we didn't have cell phones or CDs or VCRs no less DVDs when I was a young 'un.

    Love,
    Janie

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  3. That interview and the sound of his voice will be a treasure for that family. Everyone has a story. (isn't that what makes blogging fun?) You could look at his life and think it was ordinary...not a movie star, a politician or a "reality wantabee someone"..just a real man with a life worth remembering and a family who will miss him.

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  4. @ Lady's Life, thanks for the link. I started following her. She has an amazing blog. I'd love to have a similar design on my blog too.

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  5. Thanks Janie. When I start talking to my nieces and nephews about this stuff they usually cross their eyes and zone out :)

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  6. Thanks Yaya. Capturing stories is my favorite part of my work.

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  7. Wow, I so glad you took the time to do this for the family and I am sure you received a little something in return-The blessing of making someone feel valued : )

    I love the power of words!

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  8. that's a wonderful thing you did... I'm sure the one who asked you to do it will be forever grateful !!

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